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News from Monmouth County, New Jersey

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    Who rose and fell as a result of last week's Top 20 clashes?


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    The woman was last seen at her home in Bradley Beach

    Police are continuing to search for a 20-year-old Bradley Beach woman missing for 10 days.

    Lisset Crozier-Rothman was last seen at her Bradley Beach home on Jan. 12, police said. She is described as Hispanic, 5-feet 4-inches tall and 135 pounds.

    Police said that Crozier-Rothman has health issues that require medication.

    Anyone with information may contact the Bradley Beach Police Department at 732-775-6900.

    Spencer Kent may be reached at skent@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerMKent. Find the Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have information about this story or something else we should be covering? Tell us. nj.com/tips


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    See which girls basketball teams have had eye-opening starts this season.


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    Check out the big wrestling events of the week


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    New Jersey has already had an active winter, with a slew of snowstorms and long cold snaps. Here's how much snow we've gotten so far.


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    Jake "The Tank" Honig died Sunday morning after a long battle with Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of brain cancer

    Those who knew 7-year-old Jake Honig called him a tenacious fighter, a brave boy and an inspiration to all.  

    After a five-year battle with an aggressive brain tumor, the boy known affectionately as "Jake the Tank" died Sunday, according to a Facebook post on his page. The Howell resident had been under hospice care since December, and spent his final days with parents Mike and Janet, and younger sister Gianna.

    "It was peaceful. It was painless. Jake left us this morning," the post read. "Jake had an 'old soul' and we will carry his sunshine with us forever."

    Jake was well known in a community that often rallied behind him. Fundraisers were common for Howell residents and Jake, who was present two weeks ago at Howell Police Department's 'Hoopin' for Honig' basketball tournament. 

    Southard Fire Department, which gave the boy a ride on a fire truck in 2013, honored him with a lighted sign on Route 9 for the weekend.

    Jake, who was fascinated with police and transportation, was surprised by Howell Police Department with his own tyke police motorcycle and became an honorary police officer in June, CBS reported.

     

    Jake was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in 2012, a rare type of cancer to be found in the brain. He underwent dozens of rounds of chemotherapy, proton radiation and surgeries at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

    He had been in remission for four years until a scan during a check up showed the cancer returned, spreading farther into his back, according to a post on CHOP's patient blog.

    Since there were only four other known cases in the world of this type of tumor, Jake will be donating his brain and spine to research at CHOP, his father Mike said.

    "Jake's still giving to other right now even as he's not here with us," Mike said. 

    Medical marijuana greatly improved Jake's quality of life in his last days. He used cannabis oil to help his appetite, slightly slow tumor growth and eliminating six of the pills he was taking every day, according to 94.3 the Point.

    The Honigs became strong advocates for changes to the program, asking the community to write to Gov. Phil Murphy to revisit N.J.'s strict medical marijuana laws.

    Murphy contacted the family two days before Jake died, voicing his support for changes to the program, a Facebook post said.

    "A lot of work needs to be done, but it's children like Jake that will ignite change more rapidly," the family wrote. "This was a brief, initial conversation and a step in the right direction."

    Sophie Nieto-Munoz may be reached at snietomunoz@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her at @snietomunoz. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips


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    See which games you should keep an eye on this week.


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    Where are the top hoops games this week?


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    Authorities didn't say why they were in a Matawan neighborhood for most of the day

    A standoff in Matawan on Monday that lasted more than 10 hours ended with a "peaceful resolution,"  authorities said. 

    Neither borough police nor the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office offered details about the standoff involving officers from several towns in the area of Johnson Avenue.

    The incident began shortly before noon and athorities advised people to avoid the area of Hoyt, Harrel and Little streets.

    At 10:22 p.m., the prosecutor's office sent a tweet saying the standoff had concluded. 

    The only other comment from authorities came in a 6:15 p.m. tweet when they said there was no threat to the public. 

    At least eight popping sounds were heard between 4:25 p.m. and 4:40 p.m, according to APP.com. The noise was thought to be the sound of tear gas being launched into a home, the report said. 

    The Monmouth County Sheriff's Office and the Monmouth County Emergency Response Team and Bayshore EMS was also on the scene, according to Matawan police chief Jason Gallo. The chief added that he "will comment no further." 

    A spokesman for the county prosecutor's office said Tuesday morning that "there is no additional information available at this time."

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

     


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    Who shined in the past week on the basketball court?


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    Who had the best showing at the first of the state championship meets?


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    Andreas Erazo, 19, has been charged in the death of 11-year-old Abbiegail "Abbie" Smith of Keansburg. Watch video

    A man accused of stabbing to death his 11-year-old neighbor in July admitted to detectives he killed the girl and said he wouldn't be surprised if evidence showed he raped her but that he "had a tendency to black out traumatic events," according to court documents read aloud in court Tuesday.

    The gruesome details of the final minutes of Abbiegail "Abbie" Smith's life before her death were revealed in a court hearing before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge David Bauman to determine if two counts of aggravated sexual assault would be dismissed from an indictment charging Andreas Erazo, 19, with Smith's death.

    Smith was reported missing from her Keansburg apartment July 12 by her mother, Carol Smith Bennett, before her body was discovered the following morning on the roof of a shed outside of an upstairs neighbor's apartment.

    Bauman, reading from a brief submitted by prosecutors representing the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, said DNA evidence tested in a laboratory showed that Erazo's sperm was found in her genital area.

    Erazo admitted to detectives in an interview that he tied Smith's body up with computer cords, wrapped her in a sheet and then placed her body inside a green futon, according to the court documents. He then cleaned her body up with a towel and toilet paper before placing it outside his window on the roof of the shed still wrapped inside the futon, the documents allege.

    Erazo told detectives that he was preparing dinner inside his apartment on the evening of July 12 when he heard a loud bang, which caused him to believe someone entered the apartment, according to the documents.

    Erazo took the kitchen knife he was using to make dinner and went towards the door and made a "stabbing motion with his left hand," Bauman said.

    "He then turned the lights on and realized that he had stabbed a little girl in the neck," Bauman said.

    As Bauman read aloud the details from the court documents, Bennett, who was sitting in the front row of the courtroom, became visibly upset, wiping tears from her eyes and muttered the word, "please."

    One of Erazo's attorneys, Courtney Schneider, argued that count four of the indictment, which charges her client with aggravated sexual assault, should be dismissed because prosecutors didn't present evidence to a grand jury that showed Erazo held the knife while sexually assaulting Smith.

    "The state has made a giant leap here," Schneider said.

    She also argued that count five of the indictment, which also charges Erazo with aggravated sexual assault, should be dismissed because the state failed to provide a timeline showing her client sexually assaulted Smith at the same time he allegedly killed her.

    The state "is simply doing their best guesswork," she contended.

    Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Diane Aifer said prosecutors provided "very detailed and comprehensive" evidence to the grand jury, including photos, autopsy reports and hours of testimony.

    Aifer said evidence showed that Smith didn't suffer any other wounds besides the fatal stab wounds and that photos showing her mangled clothing indicated "use of force and coercion" by Erazo.

    Bauman denied the motions to dismiss both counts of sexual assault, asserting that it was reasonable for a grand jury to believe Erazo used a knife to subdue Smith and that she was both sexually penetrated and killed in a 50-minute window.

    Prosecutors said in their brief that a witness who lived across from the Hancock Arms apartment complex in Keansburg, where Smith lived with her family, told police he saw the girl enter apartment 16A, where Erazo lived, shortly after 8 p.m. One of Smith's brothers went to 16A around 8:50 p.m. to see if Smith was there because he had seen her playing near there earlier in the evening, the documents state. As the brother knocked on the door, Bennett saw the lights in the apartment turn off and the blinds on the front window close, according to the documents.

    When police entered 16A that evening, Erazo denied seeing Smith and allowed them to enter the apartment, the documents state. The police, not seeing any visible evidence of Smith, left and continued their search for Smith. 

    Erazo, who was ordered by a judge to remain in jail pending trial, sat in the courtroom at a table next to his attorneys. 

    Erazo looked down and away from Smith's family as he was escorted out of the courtroom by sheriff's officers at the end of the hearing.

    He is scheduled to be back in court on March 6.

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Who shined this week in #NJHoops?

    bb - bell.JPGWest Side #4 James Bell drives to the basket as Newark East Side beats West Side at Weequahic High School in the boys' basketball final of the Newark Public Schools Tournament. 12/30/17 Newark, N.J. 

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    Check out the biggest stories in N.J. ice hockey from this week.


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    Check out the NJ.com statewide rankings for Jan. 22.


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    NJ Advance Media staff releases its latest group and conference rankings of the season.


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    The best girls basketball games in N.J. for the week of Jan. 22


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    There were plenty of shakeups.


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    The incident began when police tried to check up on Michael Geran, 51

    An armed man who refused police instructions to leave a home provoked a standoff that shut down a Matawan neighborhood for several hours Monday, the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement.

    A family member asked police to conduct a welfare check on Michael "Bean" Geran at the Johnson Avenue residence. When officers arrived around noon, they found Geran, 51, armed with a handgun, authorities said.

    Matawan police tried to talk Geran out before he stopped communicating entirely, prompting police to call for assistance, including from the county's Emergency Response Team and the Police Chief's Association Rapid Deployment Force as well as the fire department and neighboring police agencies.

    With nearby streets cordoned off by police, several more hours elapsed before Geran finally surrendered around 10:18 p.m., more than 10 hours after the encounter began, according to authorities. He was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

    Geran, who allegedly caused $5,000 in damage to a police robot by cutting its wires and pushing it down a flight of stairs, has been charged with second-degree false public alarm, possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose and criminal mischief.

    Paul Milo may be reached at pmilo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@PaulMilo2. Find NJ.com on Facebook.  

     

     

     


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